Episode #017: The Emotionally Intelligent Salesperson with Colleen Stanley
In This Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:
Colleen Stanley, Founder and President of Sales Leadership, Inc., joins Jeff to discuss Emotional Intelligence and the role it plays in making you a stronger salesperson and for managers to help your staff perform at their best.
Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:
[2:39] Quote of the Day
[5:13] Sales Tip of the Day
[11:12] Define Emotional Intelligence
[12:58] Correlation between E.I. and Success
[16:30] Mousey or Aggressive
[21:33] How Emotional Should A Salesperson Be?
[24:10] Emotionally Detached?
[8:34]2 Emotional Preparation
[35:34] Motivational Summary
More about our guest Colleen Stanley:
Colleen Stanley is the founder and president of SalesLeadership, Inc. She is the creator of the Ei Selling® System, a unique and powerful sales program that integrates emotional intelligence skills with consultative selling skills. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and Growing Great Sales Teams.
Links from today’s podcast:
Jeff: How do you find that space between mousy and unhelpful on the one hand and being aggressive and intimidating on the other? We’ll dive into that very touchy subject on today’s episode of, “The Buyer’s Mind.”
Announcer: Welcome to “The Buyer’s Mind” where we take a closer look deep inside your customers’ decision-making mechanism to reverse engineer the perfect sales presentation. Now, please welcome your host, Jeff Shore.
Jeff: Well, welcome everyone to, “The Buyer’s Mind” where we investigate exactly what’s going on in the brains of our prospects, those who are considering a purchase decision. This podcast is all about taking a stroll through the buyer’s brain. It’s about knowing the customer so well that the sale begins to roll out right in front of you. And today, we’re gonna look at the work of our own brains and how our own approach affects our customers’ experience. I think you’re gonna love this. I’m your host, Jeff Shore. You can read the full bio in the show notes, or you can visit, jeffshore.com.
I wanna take a moment to say thank you, to those of you who have offered some really warm compliments on this show. We’ve got a lot of great feedback, especially on iTunes. Thank you so much for that. We hope you’re enjoying this podcast, as much as we’re enjoying bringing it to you. If you have questions that you would like answered on “The Buyer’s Mind,” you can send those questions to, email@example.com. We’ve got a list of experts coming up and I’m sure they would love to take a step by providing some insight. As always, welcome to our show producer, Mr. Paul Murphy. Murph, how are you doing?
Paul: Again, greetings from Colorado.
Jeff: Glad to have you on the show as always. Hey, Murph, how does it affect you when you sense that a salesperson is being too aggressive?
Paul: It makes me nervous. I shut down. I just get into a defensive posture. I don’t wanna necessarily open up if they start getting too aggressive.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. A little bit fearful that this conversation is gonna get out of hand?
Paul: I grew up with a father as a police officer, so anytime somebody starts drilling me with questions, I know I’m being interrogated and I’m not sure what I did wrong.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. You know what’s interesting to me, I’ve dealt with a lot of salespeople, a lot of different styles of salespeople, and I see some who are very aggressive. And what’s interesting is if you ask them, they don’t think they’re being aggressive. I think the problem is that, oftentimes, salespeople don’t know exactly what they’re doing and the effect that they’re having on their customers, but that’s what we’re gonna get into today. We’re gonna look at this category of emotional intelligence and how we know ourselves. And that leads us to our quote of the day from Daniel Goleman himself.
Daniel Goleman wrote the book, “Emotional Intelligence,” and this is what he says, “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you’re not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you’re not going very far.” I mean, that’s it. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, you’re not going very far if you don’t have that emotional intelligence. And that’s where the author of the book, “Emotional Intelligence,” by the way, an absolute must-read. It speaks to the idea that you must first understand yourself before you’ll be able to effectively serve or to sell to those around you. Now, that’s not easy to do, but I’m gonna tell you one thing that will help: surround yourself with people who will tell you the truth.
Self-awareness is actually a really difficult thing. The problem is that receiving criticism is also a difficult thing. So if I have a hard time understanding myself and I have a hard time listening to the criticism of others, how will I grow? And my suggestion is, find people in your life who will be honest with you and then go into a conversation without a shred of defensiveness. Don’t allow yourself even one moment of, “Oh, no, no, no, that’s not me.” Go in accepting everything that’s said at face value and then give it a time just to sink in, and you can sort it out. The results can be very, very powerful. But the bottom line, you need to do what you need to do in order to increase your sense of self-awareness, your own emotional intelligence. And when you do that, you’re gonna serve others far more effectively.
Well, we wanna let you know that the podcast is brought to you in part by our good friends at HomeStreet Bank. This is not just a sponsor, this is my lender of choice. I purchased a home recently and used HomeStreet Bank. If I was gonna do it again today, I would use HomeStreet Bank: smooth transactions, professional, dependable, great rates, great service. If you’re a real estate professional listening in today and you’re looking for somebody that will take really good care of your customers, go to, homestreetbank.com and you can learn more. That’s, homestreetbank.com.
Coming up in just a few moments, an interview with Colleen Stanley, that I think you’re really, really gonna enjoy. Colleen is the author of, “Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success,” a number of other books, a really, really profound sales thinker. Before we get to that, let me bring you our sales tip of the day. And today, we’re gonna talk about how to listen to people who are angry. Sometimes we try to do our best work but we have customers, or significant others, or spouses who are angry with us. How do you do it? What do you do when you’re trying to listen to somebody who is angry? And I’m gonna give you three tips for this.
Number one, you control your emotion. Period, 100%. They don’t make you mad. They don’t have that kind of power. You make you mad. So if you have a customer who is upset at you and you get mad, that was your choice. You control your emotions. You can choose to keep your own emotions in check when someone else is angry or you can choose to stoop to their level. And you know what the problem with that is, if a customer is mad and I come in, in a very positive mindset, and I can bring them up to a positive perspective over time, do I win? Yeah, I do. But if they’re in a very negative frame of mind and I meet them in that negativity, do they win? No, they don’t. Nobody wins when you go negative. Tip number one, you control your emotions.
Tip number two, tell me more. This is the phrase that you wanna use, “Tell me more.” See, our natural response when somebody is angry with us is to shut them down. It’s to cut off the conversation because, let’s face it, the experience is unpleasant while they’re doing that talking while they’re angry. But using the, “Tell me more” technique, is gonna force that person to get to the base reasoning behind the emotion. It moves them into their logical brain. You can’t win an emotional argument with a customer who’s upset. You know why? Because you’re out-gunned. They’ll always have more emotion than you do. You can’t play the, “Is not game,” it’s just, “tell me more, tell me more, tell me more.” Let them talk until they’re talking out of the logical side of the brain.
Tip number three, start your solution with the word, let’s, L-E-T’S. As in, let’s do this. I want to encourage you to put yourself in the same boat with your customer. Their problem is your problem, your solution is their solution. Get on the same page. So whatever your solution is, start with the word, let’s. “Let’s do this,” okay? Right from the very beginning, you’re saying to your customer that I’m with you on this, that I invested in this, together.
And before we get to our interview, let me tell you about an opportunity. I want to invite you to join us for the 2017 Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit and Exposition, to become a better leader for your career, for your team to grow in ways that you never thought possible, and take your career to the next level. Now, this is specifically targeted towards real estate executives but we’ve had people outside the real estate industry who’ve gotten so much out of this. As the premier industry gathering, you’re gonna learn from the best of the best about what it takes to make you a better leader, a better manager, a better coach, with more insights, with more actual strategies, with more, aha moments, than ever before. You’re gonna come away from this summit confident that you possess the tools and the knowledge, not only to succeed but to truly change the world.
And I’ve to tell you one other thing. We do this at the Loews Coronado Resort in a beautiful…just outside of San Diego. We do it on a Thursday, Friday. Most of our guests, hundreds of guests, spend the weekend. We’ve done this year after year. They’ve spent the weekend in San Diego, and there are lots places to be in August in San Diego. It’s a beautiful city. You’re gonna come away renewed and refreshed. You could find more information about the summit and other exclusive training events throughout the year for sales leaders and for sales pros at, jeffshore.com/events.
All right. Well, I’m so excited to have Colleen Stanley on the program today. Colleen is the founder and president of Sales Leadership Inc. You can find her work at, salesleadershipdevelopment.com, salesleadershipdevelopment.com. Colleen is the creator of the EI Selling system, the author of two books, including the “Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success” available in six languages. So you know she’s had some success there. She’s a legend in sales leadership circles, recognized by Salesforce as one of the most influential sales figures in the 21st century. I would read some of her other awards and recognitions but it would basically take up all of our time. So I’m just gonna skip forward and say, welcome, Colleen. Thanks for being here.
Colleen: And, Jeff, thank you and thank you for the kind words.
Jeff: You just got back from Milan, Italy, doing some work with the great Robert Cialdini. How was the trip? How was the event?
Colleen: You know what? It was just great. I mean, everything from performance strategies, was a conference we were both speaking at. And, you know, the Italian people are warm, lovely, professional, and the country is absolutely wonderful both in culture and scenery. So, I have absolutely no complaints. It was a wonderful trip.
Jeff: Absolutely. My wife and I celebrated our 30th last year. We spent a few weeks in Europe and we ended it…starting in Siena, Tuscany, and then ending in Como. So we were in Milan for a little while. I just loved it and like you, the Italian people are just, just wonderful. Hope you got a little R&R time while you were there?
Colleen: You know, we did. We actually went up by Lake Como. We went to an area called Varenna. And so, it’s lovely, it’s peaceful, and we managed to do some good contribution to the local economy with the shopping, and I have eaten enough pasta to last me for a year, so now I’m going to the gym.
Jeff: Yes. That’s awesome. Well, that’s actually where we stayed. We stayed in that town right on the water and it was magical. It was just great. Let’s talk a little bit about your expertise in the emotional intelligence, and perhaps we can go back and reset this a little bit. Let’s start with just a definition of emotional intelligence so we can make sure we’re all on the same page here.
Colleen: Sure. Well, you know, there’s a lot of definitions, Jeff, out there, and I always like to tell my clients let’s distill it down to the very simple definition. And it is really knowing what emotion you’re feeling, why you’re feeling the emotion, and then, really, the big question, I think, is how your emotional state affects others. So are you getting triggered or are you being the triggered, which can cause then, you know, how do we interact and collaborate with people. So it’s the really what, why, and how formula, for me, in the definition.
Jeff: So if I looked at that and just simplified it to, you know…I’ll just think of the most common relationship that I know with my wife. There’s this idea right from the very beginning that, how well I know myself, am I being triggered by something she says or am I triggering? That can work both ways. I could trigger something positive, I could trigger something negative. I need to be able to understand myself in order to manage that relationship well.
Colleen: Absolutely. And I think that’s a great way to put it because, “Am I being triggered or am I the trigger?” So I know for my husband and I, I did not realize this but I had a habit of speaking, and I would ask the question, “Is there reason you did that?” And I had no malice towards the question and it’s a trigger. So we start laughing about it. He goes, “You know, when you ask a question that way, you’re going to get a defensive response.” So you know what, at that point, it’s up to me to have that recognition. It doesn’t matter whether it’s logical or not that it’s triggering another person. If I wanna make a difference in the conversation, I change the conversation.
Jeff: Do you see a very strong correlation between the level of emotional intelligence in a salesperson and their overall success?
Colleen: You know, I do. And I think it shows up at a lot of different areas. Some is, you know, really how much they even enjoyed the sales profession, Jeff, because, you know, if you aren’t able to manage the ups and downs of sales, you know, you’re going to have those days where you thought that $100,000 deal was coming in, and then all of a sudden, a new decision-maker moves in or the company is getting sold, right? And so, you can have highs and lows there, and as a result, you know, your emotions are running your day and your life rather than you checking those saying, “Okay, this is called life. I have a full pipeline. There will be another day to sell and close business.” So, you know, even just from how you manage the day-to-day emotions, I think, lends to the enjoyment which lends to longevity in any business.
Jeff: This is fascinating because I’m just trying to trace back here. You know what? I’ve been in the sales business for 30 years, but my passion is really about the psychology of a purchase decision, right? That’s what I wanna do. I wanna break apart the purchase decision. I wanna see what’s going in the buyer’s brain. That’s really what this podcast is all about. Your passion is really understanding the emotional intelligence, and I’m going to assume that’s on both sides: the buyer’s and the seller’s. How did that strike you? How did that grab you? How did this become your expertise?
Colleen: Well, you know, this is…it started with relationships. So I have two colleagues in the business, Scott Halford and Maggie Lawson, and they run a business called, Complete Intelligence. And so they had taught emotional intelligence, the leadership world for years, and we’ve known each other. And they said, “You know, you need to start incorporating this into your consultative sales training processes.” So I did the expertise there and the more I started studying the soft skills, I had this epiphany that this is really the bridge to the knowing and doing gap, because, you know, let’s face it, we do live in the information age, salespeople have lots of tips and tools, but they still aren’t applying it.
So I often have found, now, with my study, that if they’re not executing a heart skill that they’ve been taught, taught well, there is generally a soft skill that is impacting the execution of the heart skill. So that’s what gave me the intrigue, is really how do we get people to execute the skills that they know and should use to make them, you know, themselves and their companies more successful.
Jeff: Yeah. That’s fascinating because, you know, when you…I often teach managers that if their salespeople aren’t doing what you want them to do, it’s always gonna come down to two things, either they can’t or they won’t. If it’s a can’t problem, that’s a training situation. If it’s a won’t problem, it’s much more on the motivation or the softer side. And I think we, oftentimes, like you, I get a call saying, “Hey, come in here and teach my salespeople to follow up.” Okay, have you ever taught at a follow up? Yes, but they’re not doing it. Okay. What do you think I’m gonna do? So they’re looking for a tactical solution to what is not a tactical problem.
Colleen: Right. And, you know, we’ve started positioning that as the sales EQ and the sales IQ. And the sales IQ is important. It’s the heart selling skills that you and I teach, it’s product knowledge, it’s people knowledge. But the sales EQ is the piece that’s been missing in, I think, organizations. And, frankly, your work in psychology is right in line with this. What’s the real reason because they have been taught the skills. So, very good alignment.
Jeff: As sales leaders, we’re always evaluating sales professionals. We’re placing them on something of a scale, somewhere between scared and mousy on the one hand, even to the point where, you know, they’re essentially not doing their job. They’re not moving the sale along because they wanna be loved and they’re afraid of being seen in that negative light. On the other hand, you’ve got salespeople who are aggressive, intimidating, at times, maybe even manipulative. First of all, in your opinion, which is the greater crime?
Colleen: Well, probably the greatest crime is that the sales manager hired such a person but let’s start…
Jeff: That’s a great answer. That’s a great answer. I love it. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Colleen: And believe me, I’ve made my share of hiring mistakes.
Jeff: Yeah, sure.
Colleen: But, you know, this is a great place to show the knowing and doing gap here because, let’s say you have a salesperson that is a little bit mousy, okay? Well, that might be due to lack of assertiveness. They have trouble stating what they need nicely, right? So they fall into, go along to get along behavior. So they agree to write practice proposals, they discount when they shouldn’t because they wanna be liked or they don’t how to state what they need. But, now, on the opposite side of assertiveness is what you call aggressive behavior, and these people actually can state what they need. They just leave a lot of bloodied bodies in the conversation.
And so, it’s interesting just with that, you know, assertiveness skill. You can see passive aggressive behavior or aggressive behavior and those can play out in the sales function in really just how you set it up: mousy or aggressive.
Jeff: Right, right. But it still comes down…well, actually, I wanna presume this. Can you teach emotional intelligence or is a sales leader just looking and say, “This person has it or they don’t and I’m not hiring him if they don’t. I gotta bring people on who’ve already got this figured out.”
Colleen: It’s always the question, right? Now, two things, let’s answer it, yes, emotional intelligence can be taught, learned if you’ve got the student that’s got focus and commitment, right? But then for the sales manager, realistically, depending on the size of the organization, is how much time do they have to train and get somebody up to speed, right? So you can teach it but it always goes back to how much onboarding time. And I do think it depends on the skill that they need to teach because, I would say, for example, myself, there’s an emotional intelligence skill called impulse control, and certain skills can be very situational. So I’m a person that is very situational in impulse control.
I can work for hours on something, and then, at the same time, I’m that person that has something fly out of my mouth and I later go, “Did I really say that,” right? So I have worked on, you know, the end of it where I pause before I speak. And that’s a learned skill.
Jeff: A great example. When you book at emotional intelligence and where it is formed, let’s talk about the whole nature-nurture thing. I had a fascinating conversation with one of the directors of human resources from Zappos. So we had taken a Zappos tour. It was absolutely incredible, and Zappos is known for really, really strong customer service and I asked about customer service training specifically, about what customer service programs they train on and how they form them. This HR director looked at me like I have a hole in my head, and she looked at me and she said, “Customer service training? That was the parent’s job. If the parents didn’t figure those out in the 20 something years that these kids lived at home, you really think we can put them to a 3-week process and teach them how to take care of a customer?” So there is a whole side of it that when I look at emotional intelligence, how much of this is just upbringing versus personality style?
Colleen: Well, I think it’s a great point, and, actually…and I wish I had this quote better for you but I just finished Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Option B,” and she cites a research from, I believe it’s a school in Denmark. So this is where I’ll be a little bit careful, but, basically, they are teaching kids empathy. And the kids will get together and they will talk about their feelings or about how their behaviors landed on another human being. And so, if you can’t teach someone at that age, it’s a paying attention skill. And I was just working with the director of learning and development at a company yesterday, and she’s got two small children. And we were having the conversation and she’s very intentional about teaching her young son, “Well, how do you think your actions impacted your teacher? How do you think your actions impacted other kids?” And you know what? You’re right. It starts when they’re young because it’s very hard to teach empathy when they get older. You can improve on it but you will see that’s a paying attention skill that can be taught in those early years and it can serve them greatly in their adult years.
Jeff: And, by the way, you’re the second person this week to reference the book, “Option B.” So I think I need to put that on my reading list here. When we’re looking at emotional intelligence, there is this keyword, emotion, here and it’s something that’s always fascinating to me. I’ve actually had on a few different behavioral economists on the program to talk specifically about the role of emotion. How emotional is a salesperson allowed to be in the sales process? And, here, I’m gonna ask you both from your expertise in emotional intelligence but also your long term expertise in the sales process in general. How emotional is a salesperson allowed to be?
Colleen: There’s almost two answers here that I’ll give you, Jeff. So one is, I would say on a sales call, you need to remain emotionally detached. Now, that sounds very cold and calculating, but here’s what I mean by it. You know, when you’re on a sales call with a prospect, it can run one of two ways, and there’s a gray area. But let’s say you’ve got a more challenging prospect. Well, if you start reacting and being triggered by their behavior, you’re becoming emotionally involved. But at the same time, you can have that really positive prospect, they’re saying all the right things we need to and you get really emotionally involved, again, positively.
Well, what I’ve seen with both types when you allow yourself to get emotionally involved, you get off your sales playbook. So with the defense of a challenging prospect, you don’t ask all the questions because you move into that survival response, fight or flight. And with the positive prospect, you don’t ask all the questions because you think you’ve got one. So I would say, remain emotionally detached in a nice way but remain emotionally cued-in to what they’re thinking or feeling. And when you’re remaining emotionally detached but more focused on them, then you pick up all the emotional cues and then you can adjust the conversation. So I hope that makes sense in how I explained.
Jeff: Yeah. Well, let me give you an example back and you can tell me whether I’ve got it right here. But it sounds to me a little bit like you were talking about a physician with really good bedside manner, because, you know, certainly, the emotion that I’m hearing from a patient who is in pain or dealing with some sort of medical problem is going to affect the way that I see that person, but I have gotta be able to recognize I have a job to do here and I don’t want to fall into this so much that it’s going to change the way that I’m supposed to objectively see the problem.
Colleen: That’s a perfect example. Because it doesn’t mean the physician doesn’t care but when we can remain that objective person, we actually get beyond the presenting problem. Because just like a physician, often, the presenting problem as they’re seeing from the patient isn’t the real problem.
Jeff: Now, here is the flip side to that, and, so let me just challenge you on the other side. Sometimes we see salespeople who, if they’re happy to be there, boy, they sure didn’t let their face know because you look at that salesperson, there’s no energy, there is no emotion, there…it’s all procedural, and they end up dragging down the emotional altitude of that conversation. So I assume there is a downside to being completely emotionally detached.
Colleen: Well, and I’d actually say this might be a different perspective. There’s actually an attribute called emotional expression, and when you study conversation and communication, most of it is occurring, especially if you’re one a face-to-face, it’s what your face is saying, right? Or, you know, tonality and actually interest. So I think what I’ve seen happen with a lot of people, salespeople and others, their face isn’t showing the interest and they might be highly interested. So there’s a term out there, we won’t use it on this podcast, but it’s called resting grump face, right? And so there will be people that have this resting face and it is sending off the wrong message, which either says I’m disinterested, and they’re not. They’re highly engaged but they can be triggering people because of exactly what you said. They’re not paying attention to how that face is showing up. And I could give you one more example that’s…
Jeff: Sure. Yeah, go, go. Sure.
Colleen: So you just reminded me of this because when we’re teaching, I taught in class where, you know, this emotional expression, people are looking to see if it’s congruent, right? They’re always going, “Can I trust this person, like this person?” So if you watch some of the pundits on, whether it’s CNN or Fox and I can pick on some of the women because I am a woman, but they will be on TV and they’ve got this big smile on their face and they’re saying something like, “And we just had another act of terrorism,” or, “there is a war that broke out.” And you’re looking at their face and you’re saying, “You’re delivering really bad news and you’re smiling.” That’s called incongruency.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I could see where it would absolutely be potentially disastrous and really cause a break of connection with their customer.
Colleen: It absolutely does.
Jeff: When we’re talking about emotional intelligence, we’ve been talking about it largely from the perspective of the salesperson, but what about the emotional intelligence of the customer. Is that something that salespeople should be thinking about, should be measuring, or could we get, just sort of wrapped around the axle thinking about it too much?
Colleen: Well, I think if I was to talk about in terms of the emotional intelligence to the prospect, I might distill it down to maybe this competency empathy, because I think what we’ve gotta do on a call is…and it’s a little bit overused today because I’m not sure people quite understand what the concept is, but, you know, we say empathy is really being able to step into the mind, heart, and feet of your prospect, and what are they thinking or feeling. So, now, if you think about this, you’re a salesperson and you’re calling the prospect or meeting with them for the first time. You’re a stranger. Then they’ve got all those perceptions of what typical salespeople are like. You’re there only to close the deal, commission.
So I think when you start talking emotional intelligence, I would be talking about what’s their emotional state when they’re meeting with the salesperson and maybe their past history of working with salespeople, and are they bringing those perceptions into this meeting? Because that’s how you adapt to the emotional cues and you adapt to the conversation.
Jeff: I recently interviewed Ted Hyman who is…he sells to CEOs, you know, big, huge enterprise sales, multi-multi-million dollar deals. And one of the things that he was talking about was his mental routine before he meets with a client for the very first time, and he likened it to an athlete who is picturing the play before the play actually happens and trying to get clarity on what that’s going to look like. I had a similar conversation recently with Mark Hunter, who I suspect you know as well. When we’re thinking about our emotional intelligence, is that an opportunity for a salesperson to just, “Boy, I wanna be intentional in this conversation. I just need to take a moment to clear my head and make sure that I am fully engaged, that my mottos are right.” Is that kind of the first step in making sure that you’re handling this issue called emotional intelligence properly?
Colleen: Well, I love exactly what your prior guest said, but the mental prep, I call that the mental pre-call planning. And so, here’s what can happen a lot, Jeff. In this world, we’re all so busy, right? And I’m amazed at how many salespeople, you know, they run right into the next appointment and they don’t take that 5 or 10 minutes and I’m not talking the, “Okay, what’s my value propositions,” questions. It’s just like, “Okay, I’m gonna get fully present here, I’m gonna quit worrying about the appointment I came from or the next meeting,” and the being present sounds a little bit trite and overused. However, when you really study it, somebody can tell if you’re not fully present. And we’ve all been on those conversations. So if we don’t take time to do the mental prep, right there, you’ve blown the first five minutes of rapport and maybe the rest of the call.
Jeff: Yeah. And I can absolutely see…well, we’ve all seen that, right? As consumers, we’ve seen that in salespeople and it frankly just drives us up the wall. It drives a little batty when we see that, because it really…I think we end up reading that as disrespect when that salesperson is not fully there. And then when we see a salesperson who is fully engaged, it’s like a glass of cold water on a hot day, right?
Colleen: Right. Exactly. And this is where I will get on a rant, if I can even use that word for some of my sales managers, because, you know, I find in this day and age of technology which has been a great gift for all of us, but we have not learned how to manage it. And I always just do the commonsense conversation. I said, you know, if your salespeople are constantly connected and then they’re supposed to meet with a prospect and be fully present for an hour but they’ve never been fully present for an hour in their life, you can’t recall a habit you have not developed. And so, I find these managers really need to be running like their sales meetings. You don’t have to have everybody with their phones and laptops. You’re meeting to meet, and teaching them the power of presence.
A lot of sales managers, and I know you’ve probably seen this, they’re running one-on-one coaching sessions but they’re answering emails and phone calls. So we talk about being present but we’re not modeling it very well in this day and age of technology.
Jeff: And it’s a gift to our customers when we do that. We’re just about out of time. We’re going to be sending people here and in the show notes to, salesleadershipdevelopment.com, encouraging them to buy the “Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success,” just a landmark book. But before we wrap it up, give us some advice for salespeople that will help them to stay mentally strong on their journey, Colleen.
Colleen: You know, I think the number one advice I give and it actually resonates with salespeople is, you know, if you’re going to improve emotional intelligence, which really starts with emotional self-awareness, that’s the mega skill, I would really encourage people to start each day with some of that quiet time, down time, still time. Because it’s really only in the stillness that you can get clarity of thought and that’s when you can do the self-examination, right? “What triggered me yesterday that caused me to respond in a manner that I regret?” Or, “Was I the trigger and what do I need to adjust or change?” So I find in a very busy world, this is a habit I really installed in my life about seven years ago once I started studying more of the EQ, and it has been a game changer. And I find for people when they install this habit, it can be that game changer for that mental prep.
Jeff: I love it. I love it. Powerful, powerful words. This conversation is over for now, Colleen, but I have a sense we’re gonna need to chat again, because this was really, really good stuff. I know that our audience is gonna love it. Thank you so much for taking the time to join us on, “The Buyer’s Mind.” I really appreciate it.
Colleen: Thank you for having me.
Jeff: Well, Murph, that’s so interesting, the whole subject of emotional intelligence. It’s at times hard to get your head around, and yet if you don’t get your head around it, boy, it seems to me you’re gonna have a…you’re gonna be in trouble.
Paul: Well, and I was encouraged, because, at least, it’s a learnable skill. I was a little concerned that if you didn’t have it, you are doomed.
Jeff: Murph, I think what we’re talking about is a matter of scale. I don’t think really it’s a matter of you not having emotional intelligence. Everybody has emotional intelligence. It’s the question of how strong that emotional intelligence is. So if you have a very low level of emotional intelligence in the world of sales, you’re probably going to struggle. Can we work on it? Yes, we can work on it but it’s going to be a difficult, uphill battle. But I would argue that in sales, you need a lot more emotional intelligence than you do in other jobs. And the reason I say that is because you’re dealing with customers who are highly emotional and they will trigger your own emotion. They will trigger if you’re not careful and if you let them, they will set off emotional triggers that you don’t want set off. So I think that this is a scale thing.
Paul: Great. Very helpful. Thank you, Jeff.
Jeff: And I think the other thing, in sales, a lot of times, we wanna…we like being the man, so to speak. I like having the answers, I like being able to solve problems, but it sometimes turns into the Jeff Shore show, and the customer is no longer the star, right?
Paul: And that’s what we should be tuning into, right? I mean, if you’re a salesperson and you’re not meeting the needs of your customer by listening to what it is they’re feeling, then how can you ever get them what it is they need. You won’t understand.
Jeff: Absolutely. Absolutely. A few key takeaways here and action items for you our listeners. First of all, if you’re a sales leader, emotional intelligence can be learned, but is it worth it? That’s a great question. If you’re studying this and you have a salesperson with a very low amount of emotional intelligence, you gotta ask yourself the question, “Is it really worth it? Is it worth the amount of time? How good can this person be?” And I’m not suggesting that you just let them go, but, boy, it may be such an uphill battle that it may not be worth it. If there is a sales call, you wanna make sure that you’re careful about your emotional attachment, your level of emotional attachment. So Colleen suggests that you stay emotionally detached, or if you’re sales professional, we wanna make sure that there is an emotional expression but you’re not getting so wrapped up into the emotion that you move off of your playbook, that you can’t think clearly as to what’s going on.
And then another action item, and I think this is so powerful, begin your day, start in the stillness. Start in the stillness. This is wisdom literature going back thousands of years, and you’ll see it over and over again, this whole idea of rest, be still, be calm, of, take that time to picture yourself in the moment and to think about what it is that we do, the way that we serve people and the way that we serve people effectively. But sales is a go-go job. There is so much that’s going on at any given time and we wanna make sure that we’re stepping away from that hustle and bustle and taking that time to be still and to get our head on straight.
And that really leads us sort of into the wrap-up here, and I just wanna talk about your own emotion, especially if you’re having a bad day. Because, let’s face it, sometimes in sales, life happens and we have a bad day, or a bad year, or even a bad life, and the question is, how can you be your best self when things aren’t going particularly well? I mean, let’s face it. It’s going to happen. You’re going to have times where, you know, you’re struggling somehow. You’ve got a health issue, it’s a problem with your significant other, or your teenager, or your boss. It could be any number of things. Maybe you’re just…you’re a little down, or sales aren’t going well, you’re in a slump. What do you do? What do you do when things aren’t going particularly well?
And I wanna suggest to you that the most important thing that you can do is step away from yourself by stepping into your customer. Use your customer as a form of therapy. “I’m gonna talk to this customer right here, and you know what I’m gonna do? For the next however long this conversation goes, I’m going to so fully pour myself into that customer that I can’t think about anything else. I won’t be able to think about anything else.” This reminds me of an interview that was done with the late Yul Brynner, who did the show, “The King and I” on Broadway, 5000 times. How do you get up for a show 5000 times? You think out of 5000 days, he didn’t have a bad day sometimes, that he didn’t wanna just kind of mail it in?
And you know what he did? He used to think about it in the terms of the guy in row G, seat six. The person in row G, seat six, it’s opening night and it’s closing night. It’s the only performance of “The King and I” that, that guy will ever see. So he put himself into the position of the person that he was performing to, because, ultimately, that’s what it’s about. Who is this for? Is this for me or is this for my customer? If it’s for me, yeah, I’ll throw a pity party, I’ll feel sorry for myself over what might be very legitimate issues, but if this is for my customer, I’m gonna step outside of myself, I’m gonna so totally pour myself into that customer that I won’t have time to think about anything else. It’s a great way to be able to serve your customer and to serve them well.
Hey, at the beginning of this show, I told you that there would be a contest and here it is for my faithful listeners. Get ready. You have the chance to win the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Canceling headphones. These are amazing. I love my headphones. I love these when I’m traveling. I love them when I’m listening to the podcast or when I wanna hear a great quality music. And for the winner, you can take your choice of either the Over-the-Ear or the Noise Canceling ear buds. I love these so much that I actually own both of these. So you listen to, “The Buyer’s Mind” while you’re working out, you get both a physical and a mental workout at the same time with your Bose headphones.
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All right. Good luck with that. That’s a wrap on our podcast, “The Buyer’s Mind.” Hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, go out there and change someone’s world.